Sunday, October 29, 2006

End Of The Year Candidate - Zyklon: “Disintegrate”

The mixture of black metal and death metal is a relatively new thing created at the turn of the millennium. It’s actually surprising that there haven’t been larger attempts earlier, as the crossover seems like a match made in, hmm, hell?

Zyklon is one such band pioneering the rising genre of black/death along with Behemoth, with Zyklon adding in a hint of industrial now and then. “Disintegrate” sees Zyklon nudging their creative limit a bit further by adding a hint of melody to the guitars every now and then. The vocal range of Secthdaemon has included a high rasp, a low growl and a mid-rang hardcore bark which usually has a hint of a clean sung tone in all it’s harshness. The fiery harsh/clean voice that’s been expanded on in portions as well, and in very fitting ways.

Their first album “Worm Of Worms” was an album where all the songs were built around being fast, and ended up having many of the songs sound too much alike, with their second outing “Aeon” being a slower, and much more adventurous album. “Disintegrate” is much more varied overall in terms of tempo. The industrial elements happen more often than the previous Zyklon albums, but in smaller portions, really bringing everything into a more cohesive whole.

“Disintegrate” is fine representation of new genre for this millennium.


Zyklon At MySpace
Zyklon At Candlelight Records

Swarm Of The Lotus Is Breaking Up

This is sad news indeed. Last year in 2005, Swarm Of The Lotus released the critically acclaimed “Sirens Of Silence” which I quickly obtained and was quite impressed with. “Sirens Of Silence” was produced by Kurt Ballou, giving the album and intentionally raw but extremely good and fitting production. After releasing that album, Swarm Of The Lotus would be named alongside bands such as Converge, Mastodon, and Isis. Swarm Of The Lotus does not sound like any of the aforementioned bands, but they certainly would fit in with fans of those bands.

Many of the lineup changes focussed around Pete Maturi, which seemed to be something hinted at with his explanation of why Swarm Of The Lotus is breaking up.

Swarm Of The Lotus At Abacus Recordings

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Uprising Of “Deathcore”

Cruising through on my daily news reading, I came across yet again a review of another deathcore demo.

I remember a time not too long agin when melodic metalcore had just hit, and started to become big very quickly. With that came a rise of melodic death metal, and a rise in popularity to the bands who’ve inspired them. Of course, with that came a lot of clones, and at the same time, a lot of complaints about there being too much melodic death metal and melodic metalcore.

Many bands can read the writing on the wall, and can see they’re not going to get signed as easily as some small town local bands might think by being completely generic. Certain metalcore fans have turned to death metal as their influence, and of course we’re seeing a huge uprising in the popularity of death metal as well because of this.

I think we’ve been fortunate at this point in time to have not faced the same barrage of deathcore clones as we have melodic metalcore clones, especially since more than a few deathcore bands are still attempting to add some semblance of creativity to this mix.

The time is probably quickly approaching to when we’ll start to find the genre of deathcore getting over-saturated pretty quickly. Considering how death metal in general has already overpopulated the underground and in fact ruined things a little bit for those bands with real passion who want to tour. In fact, Dismember spoke about how the over-saturation around 1998 began to hurt them when touring. Suffocation has also cited the over-saturation of death metal and constant band cloning as a reason for breaking up in 1998.

Next year will be a defining year for deathcore. The Red Chord has already appearing on Ozzfest, deathcore bands such as All Shall Perish or Job For A Cowboy may appear on Ozzfest soon as well. Might we also see some of the influential death metal bands on Ozzfest as well? Obituary unsuccessfully attempted to get on Ozzfest in 2006. Suffocation has spoken about bringing their music to the masses. Morbid Angel is expecting a new album in 2007, considering all the attention around them due to old members joining the band, if they have a new album released just before or during Ozzfest, they might have enough record label support to get on. Cannibal Corpse and Deicide are considered the two biggest bands in death metal, and both of their recent releases have gotten great attention and stellar reviews.

One has to wonder, will popularity mean the death of death metal?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Checkout Counter: Retrogression

Hailing from Finland, this young band seems to have set their hopes high, and might even have the song crafting skills to back it up. The combination of what their splicing together and the fashion they do it seems to be original, the end result is a slight bit derivative, but executed very well.

Retrogression takes some Finnish style thrash with a very heavy powerful guitar sound, some grooving drum beats, with harsh vocals that remind me mostly of a lower version Alexi Laiho from Children Of Bodom. Theirs a hinting of melody going through the guitars every now and then, but most of the guitar work hangs around thrash. The songs from their most recent EP are a journey to the catchy, hooky, emo styled sing along choruses. This band truly merges some of the sound from their fellow Finnish bands with an emo/screamo/metalcore slant.

The end result could be aimed at Trivium fans who miss the harsh vocals, and may want something heavier.

Now, I could go all out and lay a beating on Retrogression, but the execution is done very well, and it’s very catchy. Retrogression could be a band that starts nipping at the heels of some of the more popular emo/screamo/metalcore bands, while providing a gateway to something heavier.

This surprisingly, even with the professional looking website and the good quality of the recording, and writing of their songs, the band appears to be unsigned!


Checkout Counter: Gaza

What we have here is some caustic art noise fitting into the same area as Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Botch, Mastodon, Isis, Swarm Of The Lotus, and the other usual suspects. Gaza seems to inject some much lower harsh vocals than the aforementioned bands, and blast beats as well. Pretty entertaining.

Gaza At MySpace
Black Market Activities

Friday, October 20, 2006

End Of The Year Candidate - Intronaut: “Void”

The term “noisecore” is of course only an incredibly loose standpoint. You know the usual suspects, bands like Mastodon, Converge, Isis, Swarm Of The Lotus, Neurosis, sometimes even Dillinger Escape Plan fit in as well.

Intronaut seems to have struck a middle point between Isis and many other bands in the distance between harsh vocals and instrumental interludes. The lighter moments, especially when the stand up bass is used bring Intronaut closer to Isis territory without ripping anyone off. Strangely, these lighter moments don’t see the band slow down in tempo.

For a genre that some have nicknamed “noisecore” this album was surprisingly clear, and features very few portions of noise. The heavier moments can sometimes be a double edge sword. For certain bands, playing something that’s typically got a hint of noise, and a bit of looseness to the playing with intentionally raw production actually helps a great deal to the organic performance. Playing as tight, and as clear as they do with clear production has actually sapped away some of that biting heaviness inherent to these types of bands.

The strange arpeggios, the already mentioned use of a stand-up bass, subtle use of guitar effects, and sort of a between sparsely used and a full-on vocal assault are several contributing factors that push Intronaut to a higher level when compared to their peers. As good as “Void” is though, it hasn’t quite reached the same level of artistic impact that Intronauts brethren have.


Goodfellow Records

Checkout Counter: Raise The Red Lantern

Here’s a different kind of band we don’t see often gracing the pages here at Nile River. Raise The Red Lantern are a bunch of underground noisemakers from Chicago that play something that would fit into the more stoner rock/dommier side of Mastodon, and perhaps some Neurosis/Isis mixed in as well. Pretty compelling, and a fuzzy guitar sound as well.

Raise The Red Lantern
Raise The Red Lantern At MySpace
Seventh Rule Records

Thursday, October 19, 2006

With Passion Info On New Album

By the sounds of the new songs on their MySpace page, With Passion have made a bit of a departure from their old sound. The new songs suggests they’ve gone with a mixture of deathcore with some melodic runs. I’m not able to comment properly on both songs though, as their MySpace page wouldn’t load one of the songs completely (a common problem on MySpace). I did find that one of their songs sounded a bit like The Black Dahlia Murder at times though.

I was actually hoping that With Passion would experiment more with the sound found on their previous release “In The Midst Of Bloodied Soil”, where they made good use of piano style keyboard runs, and did no single-note breakdowns.

Unfortunately, the creative turn they could be taking appears right now not to be original enough to make much an impact.

The new album by With Passion will be called “What We See When We Shut Our Eyes”, which is due out March 2007. Here’s the tracklist:

1. Triumph Over Tragedy
2. Through The Smoke Lies A Path
3. What We See When We Shut Our Eyes
4. Pale Horses Ride
5. Tales Of Sirens
6. Encryption
7. R.J. Mac Ready
8. Forgotten Amongst Screams
9. Vengeance In Departure
10. A Road For The Worthy

With Passion
Earache Records

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Killswitch Engage Post New Song Online

Recently I heard the title track from the new Killswitch Engage album which will be titled “As Daylight Dies”. Now they’ve got another song online called “For You”. I’m still debating how I feel about this new song, so perhaps giving a listen to it yourself may answer a few questions.

Go here, then click on the “Audio” tab on the right, then choose the Killswitch Engage song to hear it!

Killswicth Engage
Killswitch Engage At Roadrunner Records

Negativa Post New Song And Video

Head right on over to their MySpace page to hear a brand new Negativa song. For those of you who lament the loss of Gorguts, I must say, this new song sounds like a continuation of the famed underground Gorguts album “Obscura”. My hopes are that Negativa would get signed to Century Media and do lots of touring.

Negativa At MySpace
Negativa Video At YouTube

Jared Anderson, Former Bassist/Vocalist For Hate Eternal And Morbid Angel Passes Away

Not too long ago, I started following up on Jared Anderson and his work. I had gained some interest in what he had be doing since I had recently obtained the Hate Eternal album “King Of All Kings”. I noticed that he was near the top of the friends list on the MySpace page for Hate Eternal, and I had a chance to listen to some Internecine songs.

Jared Anderson played guitar, bass and vocals, and composed all the songs for Internecine’s only album “Book Of Lambs”. It featured Tony Laureano and Derek Roddy on drums. Erik Rutan did the production and did some solos on the album as well.

Recently, Jared Anderson had joined with Steve Tucker (formerly of Morbid Angel) to form a death metal band. I was curious as how that band would turn out. Hopefully, an album from the band formed by Steve Tucker and Jared Anderson will see the light of day.

From his interviews he seemed like a really cool guy, and the MySpace pages suggested that Jared still had some connections to Hate Eternal. He will be missed by those of us here at Nile River.

Jared Anderson At MySpace

Monday, October 16, 2006

Arsis Post New Track Online

For today we seem to have a good change-up here today, focussing our attention on some more melodic bands like Children Of Bodom and Arsis.

While by default, a description of their sound by many would fall under melodic death metal. The genre tag of course can be misleading, as Arsis don’t sound influenced by anything out of Gothenburg. The sound is quite original.

The new song “Oh The Humanity” has been posted on their MyPpace and PureVolume pages giving even more insight to what we can expect on the new highly anticipated album from Arsis.

Arsis At Willowtip Records
Arsis At MySpace
Arsis At PureVolume

Modern Classics- Children Of Bodom: “Something Wild”

It’s been awhile, but we finally found something in the album collection that could be considered a modern classic.

By now, many people familiar with melodic metalcore, melodic death metal, or those more into european styled metal are already familiar with Children Of Bodom. Some newer fans may not have heard their earlier, or even earliest material.

For those who haven’t heard Children Of Bodom, the best description that could be given is that they focus their sound heavily on Finnish styled power metal, with lots of emphasis placed on flashy guitar work and keyboards, with a slightly poppy sound, but with harsh vocals instead of clean soaring singing.

“Something Wild” has a focus that later albums would start to stray from, that being the classical music influence, especially through the guitar and keyboard runs. In comparison to almost all other Children Of Bodom albums, this one features the least flashy guitar solos, the least flashy keyboards, it’s the least produced, the loosest of all Children Of Bodom albums. You can tell that the fast songs and fast portions are being played to their limit, yet on successive Children Of Bodom records the band is able to outdo themselves in the race for faster tempos. Why would we here at Nile River consider “Something Wild” the best out of their discography? Despite being the least skilled Children Of Bodom album, it has an urgency to the craft of the songs. With this first album, we hear a youthful bunch of musicians experiment and forge a unique sound right out of the gate. It would be something that other bands in Finland would soon attempt to clone after Children Of Bodom’s success, and later would become the reason for some metalcore bands to get a keyboardist.

The album “Something Wild” created a stir upon it’s release, and while the timing of 1997 is generally unimportant in the underground world of extreme music, the 90's would provide the building blocks for the next generation of musicians.


Children Of Bodom
Children Of Bodom At Spinefarm Records

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Checkout Counter: The Faceless

Looking though the regular music news sites I got through, I noticed a band called The Faceless landing on some good tours. I hadn’t heard of the band before, so I looked them up at the Encylopeadia Metallum.

I was blown away by what I heard when I went to their MySpace page. The base of their sound starts with chaotic death metal, and somehow they manage to blend so many other things in seamlessly. A wide range of vocals, keyboards used in creative ways, a hinting of Gothenburg, the odd breakdown, and even a hinting of Dillinger Escape Plan? All this together sounds like it should be a disjointed mess, yet somehow they make cohesive compelling music.

The Faceless
The Faceless At MySpace
The Faceless At Sumerian Records

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Checkout Counter: By Night

A strange beast of sorts, By Night features a heavy Meshuggah influence, with a couple other tidbits of melody thrown in every now and then. Their new album “A New Shape Of Desperation” has been released, and the songs I’ve heard so far have been decent.

By Night
By Night At MySpace
By Night At Lifeforce Records

Thursday, October 12, 2006

North American Black Metal

One of the scenes rising all over North America is the black metal scene. There have been bands taking influence from the glossier, more commercially viable side of black metal with keyboards such as Abigail Williams and Wykked Wytch.

On the more raw side of black metal, bands such as Leviathan, Xsasthur and Nachmystium are gaining much notoriety. Nachtmystium are beginning to push the creative limits beyond anything I’ve heard personally on their last album “Instinct: Decay” by adding strangely psychedelic sounds from the 70's, and a hint of rock from the early 80's.

Metalcore has interest in black metal as well, with bands like Bleeding Through, The Agony Scene, All That Remains and Invocation Of Nehek adding elements of black metal to their sound. It’s more than likely that there will be more metalcore bands with a black metal influence coming soon, and with their black metal influences turned up much higher. Many bands that started melodic metalcore as a form of art have scrapped their sound for something typically only slightly different, that being deathcore. Some have made other creative left turns, but it could turn out with the genre of deathcore already beginning to dry up, metalcore bands will focus their major metal influences on something else, and right now black metal is looking like good, prime territory due for deeper exploration for the metalcore crowd.

This current rise in popularity in black metal seems to reach further than one might expect. The bass player for the melodic punk band None So Black currently listens to Deathspell Omega. As of this writing, someone on the Converge website (most likely a band member) is searching to trade for Leviathan items.

My personal prediction is that once the North American bands get a firm grasp on black metal, and begin to mutate it to their own twisted creative desires, that a new, even more frightening creature will be born.

Checkout Counter: Harkonin

There have been descriptions of Harkonin as a mixture of black/death, but I must say to my ears, I can really only hear black metal. The songs on their MySpace page are very intriguing, well-written, and for a band playing a raw style of black metal the production is very good.

Their website suggests they’ve been working very hard at their craft. Hopefully the hard work of Harkonin will soon pay off. Could a signing to a Century Media or Metal Blade be far off?

Harkonin At MySpace

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Observations On Trivium

I read many reviews of “Ascendancy” when it first came out, and many rated the album highly. I own “Ascendancy”, and while I actually rarely play it, I would say that the positive attention “Ascendancy” gained was deserved. It was good enough in fact, that many of those hooks and catchy choruses seemed to have caught the attention of the “mallcore” crowd.

I also remember the interviews of Trivium when they first got signed to Roadrunner, and right after Ascendancy was released. They talked about touring, and working hard. Over time, I could see that their record label was attempting to over-hype the band, and then I started reading interviews where band members would talk about things like becoming chart-toppers and seeking world domination. From many accounts, it seems that Trivium have allowed their rock-star status to turn them into people with rock-star attitudes.

It’s truly a shame to see young talented individuals let the hype gt to them, and begin to sacrifice their art (in part) to bend partially to the will of their record label (since it’s been suggested that Roadrunner has interfered with the creation of "The Crusade"), and partially to sell more records.

It’s going to be difficult at this time to try and predict what will happen to Trivium. I’d normally suggest that karma might step in and end their popularity sometime between 2010 and 2013, but I’m not sure I see it coming unless the Trivium clones start pouring out of record labels soon.

What typically goes with rock-stardom more likely will be lineup changes, bad rumours of negative experiences while band members are either drunk or high, and trips to rehab.

Trivium At Roadrunner Records

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Born From Pain Post Two New Songs Online

You can hear two brand new streaming songs taken from Born From Pains upcoming album here. The New album will be called "War".

Born From Pain is one of those modern hardcore bands with a metal influence throughout, not unlike bands such as Hatebreed, Throwdown or Walls Of Jericho.

Born From Pain
Born From Pain At Metal Blade Records

Dimmu Borgir Begins Recording Today

I read an interview with the guys from Dimmu Borgir in a guitar magazine, and they said that they usually have everything planned so well before going to the studio that “Death Cult Armageddon” only took two weeks to record. If they do their next album as fast, then hopefully the release date won’t be too far off.

You can read more about that here.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dimmu Borgir, I would describe them as symphonic black metal. Some people from the black metal scene have suggested that Dimmu Borgir is not “real” black metal, due to not pushing the Satanic part enough, and their popularity. Dimmu Borgir is according to some people the most commercially successful black metal band in the world (I’ve heard that Cradle Of Filth is the most commercially successful black metal band in North America). I guess it all depends on interpretation.

As a trivia note, the name “Dimmu Borgir” is said to be icelandic for “dark castle” or “dark fortress”. “Dimmu Borgir” is also the name of a lava formation in Iceland, and according to local legends is a gateway to hell.

Dimmu Borgir
Dimmu Borgir At Nuclear Blast

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Checkout Counter: SS Nova

Most Checkout Counter articles here at Nile River are usually just simple recommendations of bands who I think are decent enough to certain fans of a genre. It gets a little difficult sometimes to find a band extremely compelling enough sometimes that is truly hanging on the “undiscovered” side of things, depending on your interpretation of undiscovered.

I don’t have too much info about the band SS Nova so far, all I really know is that they were formed by former members of Scars Of Tomorrow. Considering the huge amount of lineup changes Scars Of Tomorrow has faced, several bands could be formed out of ex-members quite easily.

Those of you who have been around the world of metalcore for a couple of years now who are familiar with Scars Of Tomorrow probably know that many reviews of their albums have never garnered any strong reviews, often being cited as lacking great songwriting skills, and heavily derivitive.

SS Nova surprisingly doesn’t sound like Scars Of Tomorrow, nor do they sound like many of the other metalcore also-rans. It’s difficult to pinpoint the sound they’re creating, but it’s heavy, creative, and strangely compelling. SS Nova starts with some sort of hardcore base, and throws quite a few creative curveballs, especially working those keyboards in very well. It may have an appeal to those interested in those bands that fit with Mastodon, Converge and Isis, although SS Nova isn’t a direct soundalike to those bands.

Very compelling so far, and a definite recommendation.

SS Nova At MySpace
SS Nova At Pinky Ring Records

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Converge Post Preview Tracks For New Album

The new album from Converge titled “No Heroes” has been posted on the Epitaph website here. I’m typically opposed to such preview tracks, as I much prefer being offered a free mp3. The material from the new Converge album does sound good so far. It also sounds strange having much more upscale production, giving a much clearer sound, opposed to the much more intentionally raw production Converge has always used in their past albums. I’ve often considered Converge as having the best raw style production.

A recent album review from the latest Decibel magazine gave the album “No Heroes” by Converge the official “Album Of The Month” status.

All these factors together give me a great sense of anticipation for the new Converge album. I’m unsure of what to expect, as they truly never make the same album twice.

Converge At Epitaph Records

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Decapitated Post Video Online

The video for the song “Day 69" has been posted at Earache records here.

Their last album titled “Organic Halucinosis" was a very good death metal release that came out earlier this year. It seemed to have a bit of an industrial feel, coming off as cold and mechanical, which works very well in the favour of the band. I could swear at certain points I could hear some Meshuggah inspired moments.

Decapitated is slated to appear on tour with Fear Factory, Hypocrisy and Suffocation.

Decapitated At Earache Records

Monday, October 02, 2006

Morbid Angel MySpace Comments

Being a band I grew up with, Morbid Angel holds a special place in my heart. I picked up “Domination” when it first came out when I was only 15 years old. It was a strange experience, since I wasn’t familiar with much death metal, or all the strange, cool, weird things that Morbid Angel do when writing songs.

I’ve followed some of the non musical elements about Morbid Angel over the years, and I’ve read many strange rumours about founding guitarist and band leader Trey Azagthoth. While I won’t divulge any rumours, I will say that many people have said he’s a strange guy (which doesn’t bother me at all to be honest).

So, has posted some comments that Trey made on his MySpace page written in the typically strange way Trey writes stuff, and it’s mostly about him feeling pretty happy in general. You can read that article here.

I’ve noticed in many pictures after getting David Vincent doing bass and vocals in Morbid Angel again, Trey’s stage demeanor does truly look much happier playing, even more so in those videos with Erik Rutan on second guitar during their recent tour.

My hopes are high that Erik Rutan will be involved with writing the new Morbid Angel album, as well as producing.

Morbid Angel

Killswitch Engage Post New Song Online

The title track from their new album which will be called “As Daylight Dies” can be found streaming at this location here.

I must say, the new song has a huge epic feel, do I dare say that things could be shaping up to be the next best Killswitch Engage album since “Alive Or Just Breathing”?

One problem I do have with the song is the Gothenburg inspired melodies and harmonies found within the song “As Daylight Dies”. There are already a lot of bands out there taking ideas from the realm of melodic death metal. Not only that, but I personally did not hear anything related to Gothenburg or melodic death metal on Killswitch Engage’s first two albums, but that’s just me.

Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage At Roadrunner Records

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Negativa speak About New Mimi-CD

Negativa is a Quebec band that contains former members of Gorguts, Ion Dissonance and Augury. I’ve heard through internet rumours that the sound from the famous underground Gorguts classic “Obscura” is supposed to be continued with the band Negativa. I haven’t read anything from the band themselves making any statements about that though.

Considering the history of all members involved, I’m guessing that we can expect something very extreme, yet strange and artistic. Of course, those factors tend to be common traits in some of the bigger metal bands from the Quebec/Montreal scene.

You can read more about Negativa is this article here.